Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

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Latest post Sat, Jan 28 2017 3:26 PM by DOCAR. 21 replies.
  • Fri, Jan 27 2017 10:07 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on Sat, Dec 9 2000
    • NV
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    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    How about an answer to my question.

  • Sat, Jan 28 2017 8:14 AM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    DOCAR:

    How about an answer to my question.

    rentalagreementwoe:
    It did have a claus, I stated that earlier. The claus is in the contract we signed on 10/27/16 that is silent about parking. 

     

  • Sat, Jan 28 2017 8:57 AM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    Rentalagreementwoe:

    I was recently laid off and can't afford an additional $75 a month, let alone an attorney. 

    Please help! I have 7 days to find a solution before rent is due again, increased, with these back-logged charges.

    How long can you afford to pay the rent even without the $75 increase?

    You may want to consider just breaking your lease.  Yes, you would be in breach of your lease contract and would be responsible for their damages as described in RCW 59.18.310, but if you have somewhere you can stay at little or no cost until you get back on your feet, and your savings (and borrowing power) are limited and a new job offer does not seem imminent, it could be the least-bad option.  At least you won't be evicted.  What's their vacancy rate?  Do you think they could find a new tenant for your apartment fairly quickly?

  • Sat, Jan 28 2017 9:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    karen2222:

    How long can you afford to pay the rent even without the $75 increase?

    I can afford to pay rent for 6-8 months. I basically have enough money to pay my bills and little else until I am working again, which I don't plan on being long. An additional $75 a month is s a lot of money for someone on this kind of budget. Doable, yes, but I feel very mislead and would like to explore options, if they are out there.

    There have been problems with this property since the day we moved in, which we had conceded to be stuck with, because we signed the lease and had sucked it up because we were bound. 

    Then this happened. And if there's a way out without penalty, we'd like to find it. 

     

  • Sat, Jan 28 2017 11:48 AM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    Rentalagreementwoe:
    Then this happened. And if there's a way out without penalty, we'd like to find it.

    The remedy for a lack of clarity in a contract is not for one side to unilaterally void the entire contract.  Instead, the two sides fight it out over the correct interpretation.

    Given that (1) you can afford to pay, (2) the other side isn't backing down, and (3) the lease has an integration clause, in your shoes I would grit my teeth and pay.  And consider this a learning experience.  The time to be careful and assertive is when you are in the driver's seat, when you still haven't done what they want you to do.  Before you sign the lease, and even better (if the application fee is large) before you submit your application.  Insist on seeing everything in writing early enough to reject comfortably without worrying about temporary homelessness.

    The problem with fighting something like this now is you can't really sue them.  Instead you have to withhold the money (with clear written notice that you believe you don't owe it) and wait to see what they do.  This exposes you to the risk of an unfairly damaged reputation.  They can and probably will report your rent "shortfall" to the credit bureaus.  If and when they sue you, that lawsuit enters the public record.  Even if you win or the suit later gets dropped, some future prospective landlords who do background checks may be scared off.  And these people may well give you a bad reference if/when called by future prospective landlords.

    You could also consider paying the couple of hundred dollars a consultation with a landlord-tenant lawyer probably costs, to get a more knowledgeable opinion.

  • Sat, Jan 28 2017 1:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    karen2222:
    You could also consider paying the couple of hundred dollars a consultation with a landlord-tenant lawyer probably costs, to get a more knowledgeable opinion.

    Maybe that landlord-tenant lawyer will tell you you can pay the amount in dispute under protest, and sue for a refund later.  I tend to doubt it, but if that is a possibility then be aware that the $1050 you are talking about is clearly less than the $5000 small claims court limit in WA.

    karen2222:
    Before you sign the lease, and even better (if the application fee is large) before you submit your application.  Insist on seeing everything in writing early enough to reject comfortably without worrying about temporary homelessness.

    And be prepared to walk away if they refuse.  It's a sad state of affairs (suggesting that a lot of Americans are sheeple), but some businesses seem willing to lose business rather than change their idiotic standard practices.

  • Sat, Jan 28 2017 3:26 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Dec 9 2000
    • NV
    • Posts 5,453

    Re: Is my rental agreement (contract) voidable?

    rentalagreementwoe: It did have a claus, I stated that earlier. The claus is in the contract we signed on 10/27/16 that is silent about parking. 

    So you are saying that you did sign the lease with a provision that stated verbal agreements and written agreements not in the lease are not valid?

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